There are many well-known franchise opportunities available in almost every industry you can think of. Some are well established with proven systems and support structures in place, while others are relatively new. Choosing the franchise that suits you will reduce risk and raise the levels of success. While specialist advisors are a necessity to assist you throughout your business venture, the following steps will help you to evaluate any franchise opportunity you are considering. 1. KNOW YOURSELF The first topic of research will be you. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. What is your level of knowledge, where might you need development and are your skills transferable? Will you be able to manage the high level of personal energy required to get yourself started? Are you a team player, or do you prefer to work alone? Will you require staff? Only after you have analyzed the depth of commitment required to start a new business venture will you be in a position to make a specific choice. 2. KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS The costs of a franchise can vary considerably. While smaller investments can be affordable through personal assets, most potential franchise owners will need to consider additional borrowing. The increase in small business ventures have compelled many banks to have business start up kits, which include information on the requirements of starting a business, self evaluation reports and financial planning forms. No matter how much security you can offer, banks need to be convinced that loans can be serviced. What the proposed business can afford is more important than what you have. 3. KNOW WHAT FRANCHISING IS Find out all you can about franchising. In particular focus on the unique relationship that exists between franchisees and franchisors. Look for a Franchise Association closest to you to obtain guidance from. Once again the banks can provide a wealth of information in this regard; it is now within their interests to build relationships in an extremely competitive financial environment by providing separate departments that serve the franchise industry. Search the internet, but be aware that different countries will have different compliance issues. Even if you have a preference this early in the game, research is still a vital process that needs to be completed. There is also the chance that research will open up alternatives you may not have previously considered. 4. KNOW THE INDUSTRY You have already analyzed your skills and knowledge; now look at the different types of businesses that you feel are potentially suitable. Identify the different companies that are offering opportunities in the area. Consider the requirements of the proposed industry and see if it matches your skills and aspirations. It is not necessary for you to...